MONTEBELLO – Schurr High senior Erica Suh, one of only 1,000 students across the nation, has been honored as a Class of 2015 Gates Millennium Scholar, which will assist her financially as she studies economics at Northwestern University. The prestigious award also provides academic and social support, mentoring and leadership training opportunities to Scholars throughout their college careers.

“Erica is an exemplary student for our District who has worked hard to excel during her high school career at Schurr,” Montebello Unified Board President Edgar Cisneros said. “As a Millennium Scholar, she will be able to build upon the quality education she’s received and become a leader of her generation. We extend a heart-felt congratulations to her and her family.”

Suh, who is ranked 12th in a class of 641, holds a 4.25 weighted GPA and plans to major in economics. She plans to remain at Northwestern in Evanston, Illinois after earning her Bachelor’s degree and pursue a graduate degree at the Kellogg School of Business.

“I enjoy problem solving and am constantly curious about the world and economic issues,” Suh said. “I think business is a natural fit for my skill set and interests.”

At Schurr, Suh immersed herself in myriad programs, including United Student Body (USB), Girls League, Key Club, orchestra and journalism. She also founded Schurr’s Amnesty Club.

“Erica is always willing to go the extra mile and take on a considerable workload to challenge herself,” Principal Stacey Honda said. “She will excel at Northwestern. We couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Suh learned of the Millennium Scholars Program from friend and Schurr alumnus 2014 and Gates Millennium Scholar Gladys Argueta, who suggested she apply.

“Schurr High has given me access to solid guidance and numerous resources,” Suh said. “I can’t thank my teachers and friends enough for helping me thrive within such a supportive community.”

The Millennium Scholars Program – established in 1999 through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — provides outstanding low-income African American, American Indian/ Alaska Native, Asian American/ Pacific Islander and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline they choose.

Gates Scholars also may request funding toward a graduate degree program in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health or science.

“This award is an incredible opportunity for Erica and a prime example of the support our teachers, students and even alumni provide to each other,” Superintendent of Schools Cleve Pell said. “We are thrilled that she was selected and are so excited to watch her continue to grow and thrive as she continues her education.”

The goal of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, with the opportunity to reach their full potential. The program is known for its recipients’ high graduate rates – a six-year rate of more than 87 percent (28 percent higher than the national graduation rates for all students and comparable to the rate for students from high-income families).